Berri’s 'Central Role' Led to Baabda Reconciliation

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Speaker Nabih Berri played a “central role” in the reconciliation that was reached in Baabda between Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and Lebanese Democratic Party chief Talal Arslan, an informed ministerial source said.

“The endorsement of Berri’s proposal began with a phone call that (Prime Minister Saad) Hariri made with the President, in which he informed him that he would not convene Cabinet amid the escalation of fiery stances and tensions, warning that its meeting would lead to blowing up the political situation and perhaps its spiraling out of control,” the source told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks Sunday.

“Berri played a central role in producing results from the reconciliation meeting, topped by the end of the political clash between Jumblat and Aoun and consequently between the Free Patriotic Movement and Arslan, which opens the door for the beginning of a dialogue without tensions between these parties,” the source added.

Noting that the reconciliation meeting witnessed “unprecedented harmony between Aoun, Berri and Hariri,” the source said “their agreement created a safety net at the political and security levels that pressed for the Jumblat-Arslan reconciliation.”

The source also noted that the parties did not act because of the statement that was issued by the U.S. embassy but rather due to the “economic deterioration that reached its climax with the continued suspension of cabinet sessions” and to avert negative repercussions from a possible downgrade of Lebanon’s credit rating in the report that will be issued next week.